LONDON – Aero-engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce says it has certified a redesigned intermediate pressure (IP) compressor blade for Package C variants of the Trent 1000 engine that powers the Boeing 787.
Both the U.S. FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have certified the redesigned blade and bulletins were issued to 787 operators by Rolls-Royce and Boeing during late December, the engine manufacturer announced on January 10.
The redesign was prompted by the discovery of a durability issue within the blades of IP compressor rotor.
Although, the company has invested heavily in additional engineering capacity to perform the inspections, dozens of 787s remain firmly on the ground, engineless at airports across the world prompting airlines readjust their timetables or bring in additional capacity to maintain their flight schedules.
Rolls-Royce says it hopes that the introduction of the new blade will alleviate the number of 787s currently subject to Aircraft on Ground (AOG) events, as well as relieve the maintenance burden and operational restrictions. The issues have resulted in reduced extended-range, twin-engine operations (ETOPS) performance limits and a set of mandatory inspections.
The company also says that the certification gives it confidence in introducing redesigned IP compressor rotor blades for both Trent 1000 Package B and Trent 1000 TEN engines. The company announced it had discovered issues in a number of high-life Package B engines last summer.
No issues have been found in the Trent 1000 TEN, but the company said. it will redesign the components as a precautionary step.
Rolls-Royce says the first engine to receive the blades is currently being serviced at its overhaul services facility in Derby, while the introduction of the new blade will take place “on a phased basis as production ramps up,” the company said.
Development of the new blade was a “fast-paced program,” the company said. Tests saw the blades installed on a test engine in Derby, before being fitted to the company’s flying test bed Boeing 747 based in Tucson, Arizona.